Welcome to the CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition
Our mission is to find the best unpublished short mystery – one that fits into legendary crime writer Margery’s definition of what makes a great story:
“The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.”
Camilla Macpherson Heartbridge Homicides
A delightful, beautifully written story set in TV soapland. The breezy narration never falters as the charm of solving a crime creeps over the soap’s fan. The judges felt Margery would have loved this story.
Congratulations to Camilla and commiserations to the other shortlisted entrants – it was a very close-run competition.
|Antony M Brown||For Laura Hope
Coincidence leads a young man on the trail of girl called Laura for a wartime spy story involving Dunkirk and the language of chess.
|Chris Curran||All the Little Boxes
A killer wants to commemorate their successes. But what if murder is hereditary?
|Camilla Macpherson||Heartbridge Homicides
A story set in TV soapland. The breezy narration never falters as the charm of solving a crime creeps over the soap’s fan.
|Hazell Ward||As Dead as Dodo
Who would have thought that not removing hearing aids could be so revelatory? Or the importance of which switch turns out the lights?
|Susan Breen||One Woman Watch|
|Antony M Brown||For Laura Hope|
|Eileen Castledine||You Never Can Tell|
|Chris Curran||All the Little Boxes|
|Stacy Lucas||The Bones Don’t Lie|
|Camilla Macpherson||Heartbridge Homicides|
|Christine Poulson||The Shape of Australia|
|Alison Riley||To the Moon and Back|
|Natalie Vella||In a Small Town|
|Hazell Ward||As Dead as Dodo|
|J J White||Back to Alcatraz|
Announcement dates for the 2021 Margery Allingham Short Mystery Prize.
Winners: Thursday 1 July, time and place to be confirmed
We received more entries in 2021 than in recent years so it will be an especially closely fought competition. Thank you everyone for entering – and good luck!
The international competition is open to all – both published and unpublished authors from all over the world – and is for short stories of up to 3,500 words. All that we ask is that the story has not been previously published anywhere, or shortlisted for this competition. Entires open each year on 1 October and close at 6pm GMT on the last working day of the following February. Entry is from this web page.
Read shortlisted and winning competition entries on the left.
How to Write a Winning Story
We asked a former winner of the CWA/Margery Allingham Short Mystery Prize for 6 great tips and here they are:
- Read the great short stories (not just crime fiction) and ask yourself what makes them great
- Don’t kid yourself that writing a short story is much easier than writing a novel
- Think about the effect you want the story to have on the reader
- The opening needs to arrest attention
- The end must leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction
- Between the beginning and the end – don’t waste a word
Want to promote the competition? Download an A5 PDF flyer here.
Congratulations to the 2020 winner
Della Millward – A Time to Confess
Lauren Everdell – Voices
Laila Murphy – Sting in the Tail
The winner receives a generous cash prize of £500 plus two weekend passes to CrimeFest 2022 and a selection of Margery Allingham-related books.
The winner is usually announced at CrimeFest in Bristol, when shortlisted writers can buy tickets just to the ceremony if they prefer. In 2021 arrangements have not yet been finalised due to the pandemic. Email email@example.com.